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Events for November

According to a recent survey, using the Internet has become a traditional part of Christmas in many households. Almost nine out of 10 UK adults logged onto the internet over Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 2010 - an increase of more than 10 per cent on 2009. While sections of the church head-scratch and hand-wring over social media, the Ship of Fools website, in conjunction with the Bible Society, figured the best way to understand it is to play with it, to 'See what it can and can't do. See if we can entertain as well as inform.'

Their response this Christmas is to create  an 'alternative toilet roll nativity' on Facebook called Roll on Christmas, which is set to include:  a dysfunctional Joseph; a half-cut angel; a rogue Santa; and a dumped Jesus.

Users are promised that this will not be a simple re-telling of events in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Instead, it will be a 'fresh encounter with the story in a new medium and in the light of contemporary culture'. Drawing on sources from Matthew's Gospel to the Marx Brothers, the focus is on our corporate response to the incarnation.

Narrating the nativity will be the Mock the Week comedian Milton Jones, providing the background for a chaotic, two-minute animation where each Facebook user can play casting director, picking friends - their faces stuck on toilet rolls - to play the usual Bethlehem suspects.

The animation is free for anyone to pass on to other Facebook friends, who in turn can cast their own friends in the same play.

'Our cunning plan is that Roll on Christmas will entertain Facebookers but also send them away thinking about the nativity story,' says Simon Jenkins of the Ship. Or, as Milton Jones puts it: 'Roll on Christmas is another shameless example of Christians jumping on the bandwagon of Christmas.'
Participation is easy. You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or see the dedicated website.

Obviously there's a host of more traditional Christmas fare around the country. Over December 9-11, thousands of people will sing in groups or solo to help raise money for Christian Aid. News of their Big Christmas Sing can be found at, where there are a host of resources for people looking to run their own event, or just attend one near them. The charity also has a range of 'Present Aid' gifts.